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类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-08-06 05:50:04

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Rom. xii. 1.Heb. x. 12.

2. But the sacrifice goes farther, and involves the dedication of our powers to the Lord鈥檚 most sacred service. The text implies this when it says, 鈥淧resent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.鈥 There is clearly, therefore, to be service,鈥攁 service involving the active use of human powers. In some cases the body has been actually surrendered to bleed, or burn, in martyrdom. Many a noble man of God has given his body to be burnt rather than acknowledge the doctrine of the Mass. To this, however, we are not called. But still there may be sacrifice without martyrdom, dedication without death, and such a surrender of the living powers as may correspond to the description, 鈥淭hat they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him that died p. 38for them, and rose again.鈥 This is the secret of the missionary spirit; this it is which has led some of the noblest young men in our Universities to abandon all home prospects, and to devote their whole lives to the great work of proclaiming Christ in distant lands. This, again, is the spirit that at this present time is stirring thousands of our own people at home, devoted men and devoted women, to spend their lives labouring for God, helping the poor, comforting the afflicted, nursing the sick, and striving in every possible way to make known the sweetness of the sacred Name which has brought life and peace to their own souls.I verily believe that the fact of this Divine appointment of the ministry is too often forgotten; and that thereby God鈥檚 people鈥攁nd more particularly God鈥檚 faithful ministers鈥攐ften miss the great encouragement to be derived from it. There is a tendency in some minds to suppose that God gives a special blessing on irregular efforts, and that the stated ministry of God鈥檚 word in church is not accompanied by the same blessing as the preaching of laymen in town-halls, iron-rooms, and theatres. God forbid that I should speak with the smallest disrespect of these irregular efforts, for I rejoice in the zeal of those who make them, and I firmly believe that in many cases God has greatly blessed them; so that, if only these gentlemen would but be content to act with God鈥檚 appointed p. 51ministry, instead of taking their own course entirely independent of it, I believe we might, with great advantage to ourselves and our people, avail ourselves of their devotedness and power. But it would be a sin to believe that God鈥檚 blessing is limited in any way to that which is irregular; that the only fleece on which the dew fails to distil is that which He Himself has placed to catch it. If He Himself has given us our ministry, if He has made us overseers of the flock, it would be doubting the fundamental principles of Divine fidelity to believe that having called us, having placed us, and having Himself given us our great commission, He would leave us to struggle on alone, untaught, unaided, and unblessed by the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. We may apply to the ministry what St. Paul says to the Christian,鈥斺淔aithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it;鈥 and all of us, whether ministers or people, while we look for great gifts, great blessings, and great results, may rest assured that God is faithful, and will never leave those whom He Himself has appointed for His work.

The EndWhat, then, is the relationship between our sacrifice and His? and how are they connected? There can be no doubt on this subject if we turn to the text, where we read, 鈥淚 beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.鈥 It is, therefore, the deep sense of unmerited mercy that is to p. 43call out the willing sacrifice from a saved and thankful people. This is just how it stands in our Communion Service. We first come with the confession of sin; we then partake of the sacred feast; and seek, by God鈥檚 grace, to realise in living faith the body broken and the blood shed for our sins; after which, but not before, we 鈥渙ffer and present to Him ourselves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Him.鈥 Our sacrifice, therefore, is the result of our deep sense of unmerited mercy shown in His perfect sacrifice on the cross. It is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is the willing offering of those who have found mercy, and are most deeply and humbly thankful for it.

鈥淣othing in my hand I bring:鈥淎nd all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.鈥

In x. 3, 4, we are distinctly taught that the one reason why these sacrifices were repeated was, that it was impossible for them to be effectual in removing guilt. 鈥淚n those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.鈥 The dark stain of sin is far too dreadful a thing to be blotted out by the blood of any animal. Those sacrifices did very well as remembrancers. They were daily reminders, and daily acknowledgments of guilt; but as for putting it away, they had no virtue in them, and they p. 25were powerless. They were most important likewise as types; as helping believers, with the eye of faith, to look on and trust to the one sufficient sacrifice of the Lord; and so believers, looking to Christ as represented in the slain lamb, could, through faith in Him, find pardon and peace to their souls. But in themselves they were utterly powerless, for nothing short of the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God could ever really take away sin.But the ministry of the word must also have its public character, and the glad tidings of reconciliation must be publicly preached to a ruined world. It was this that appeared to be the prominent idea in the Apostle鈥檚 mind when he spoke of the ministry of reconciliation; for he at once proceeded to give a specimen of it in the great appeal which immediately follows:鈥斺淣ow then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ鈥檚 stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.鈥 (2 Cor. v. 20, 21.)

The text stands very near the conclusion of a most important argument, in which the Apostle has been drawing the contrast between the Jewish sacrifices under the ceremonial law and the one perfect sacrifice wrought out for us by p. 19the Son of God on the cross. The contrast commences with the 25th verse of the 9th chapter, and extends to the 14th verse of the 10th; after which we are led to the practical application of the whole epistle. Let us, then, first, carefully study the point of contrast, and then the reason of it.But this ministry of the word of reconciliation will vary according to circumstances.

This, then, is the mighty work of God in Christ: and this passage proves its nature; and shows that it consists, not in the change of disposition p. 53in man, but in the non-imputation of sin on the part of God,鈥斺淭o wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.鈥 You observe that the words teach that there were trespasses and real guilt: such trespasses that, if they were imputed, or allowed to stand for the condemnation of the sinner, there could be no reconciliation, and the sinner must die. But God in Christ does not impute our trespasses unto us: and, therefore, the barrier is removed; and in Him there is complete reconciliation. But we have not yet done with the subject; for the question arises, How is it consistent with the righteousness of God, that He should thus not impute trespasses to those who are really guilty? What has become of His government, if real guilt is not reckoned to the real sinner? The question is answered in v. 21: for we are there taught that guilt is not imputed to us, because, in the marvellous counsel of God, it has been imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ in our stead: for look at his words,鈥斺淔or He hath made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.鈥 There is no explanation of this passage, except that He who knew no sin was p. 54reckoned sinful, in order that we, who are deeply sunk in sin, might be reckoned righteous. Sin is not imputed to man; because the Lord Jesus Christ became our substitute; and it has been imputed to Him in our stead.

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鈥淏ut this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.鈥

The second is from the rubric in the service for the Visitation of the Sick, where we read鈥斺淗ere shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter.鈥

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